Thursday, August 07, 2008


I am the author with Professor Tim Pauketat of the University of Illinois of Cahokia Mounds (published by Oxford University Press in their Digging for the Past series for young adults). So, I was very disturbed to see the following news release that relates to the Cahokia site.

About an acre of one of Indiana's most significant prehistoric sites was destroyed by bulldozing. Located a mile or so from Lebanon's (Indiana) bricked and antique shop-lined main thoroughfare, the Pfeffer site has been listed for more than 20 years on the US National Register of Historic Places. But in late June, about an acre of artifact-filled soil was destroyed when a bulldozer scraped it away during the building of a road on a multiple home construction site.

Archaeologist Jeff Kruchten of the University of Illinois surveyed the site recently with Tim Pauketat. "This is the most egregious destruction of a site that I have seen," said Kruchten, who urged the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to take action. The site level had been taken down a foot to expose features from the Mississippian-era, including the tops of more than 20 debris-filled 'midden pits,' or places where refuse was dumped, prime areas for archaeological study.

"This is a very important site for the beginnings of Cahokia," said Pauketat, referring to the mound center about 15 miles to the northwest now known as the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Illinois. He said people at the Pfeffer site probably helped build the big mound city. "This destruction is a significant loss. This was an emerging civilization," he said.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat (13 July 2008)


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